“Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world” (James 1:27).
Besides controlling one’s own tongue, another positive spin James offers for the word “religion” is to be seen in our attitude and actions toward “the least of these.” Perhaps the remedy for controlling one’s tongue is to focus our attention outward. For the marginalized, powerless outcasts of society, are we seeking to be advocates that their distress might be lessened? “Distress” comes from a word normally associated with the last days. James emphasizes the real needs of today that need to be remedied.